Recent Safety Concerns
September 28, 2010
I am writing to inform you of three disturbing incidents that have occurred recently near the Grounds. Because of the circumstances, information was not available earlier to share with you, but I believe it is important that you are aware of these incidents so you can take steps to protect yourself and those around you.
All three incidents occurred off Grounds. In two of the incidents, both involving female students, it is possible that the perpetrator is the same. Based on the description in each of these two cases, police have reason to believe that the perpetrator (or perpetrators) blends in well with the student community. It is also possible that he was lurking in each area before the attacks, observing potential victims.
In the first incident, a University of Virginia student was sexually assaulted near Chancellor Street on Sept. 17 at approximately 1:15 a.m. as she walked toward her residence. An unidentified white male knocked her t o the ground and assaulted her. The Charlottesville Police Department is investigating.
In the second incident, a University of Virginia student reported, through a third party, that she was inside an unidentified fraternity house shortly after midnight on Sept. 19 when she was pushed into the pantry by an unidentified white male. Two friends heard her screams and opened the pantry door. The suspect fled the house on foot. He is described as a white male between the ages of 18 and 20, approximately 5 feet 11 inches tall, 180 pounds, with medium-length light brown hair. At the time of the incident he was wearing a T-shirt and khaki shorts.
In the third incident, a student was punched in the neck and knocked to the ground at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 18 on Chancellor Street next to the Bank of America branch building. An African-American male, approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall, jumped from a Ford SUV and punched the victim as he was walking home. It is believed that the attack was motivated by the student victim's sexual orientation.
In the two incidents involving young women, police are suspicious that the perpetrator may have been waiting and watching for an opportune time to attack. As a reminder, it is important to pay attention to your surroundings. If you see someone acting suspiciously or whose behavior raises concern with you (observing others from the shadows, looking into windows), then do not hesitate to call 911. The police want you to call so they can check out the situation. You do not need to be facing a dire emergency to call 911. Take mental notes (what the person was wearing, exactly where you saw the person, the direction traveling) to help the police as much as possible.
Students can become targets for those who want to do harm. Perpetrators often come to areas frequented by students, especially in the late-night hours, looking for young people who are enjoying themselves and have let their guards d own. As part of staying safe, please monitor your intake of alcohol, and please watch out for your friends who have been drinking. Do not leave them alone.
If you have any information on the incidents described here, please do not hesitate to call the Charlottesville Police at 434-970-3280 or Crimestoppers at 434-977-4000.
Allen W. Groves
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer Lampkin approved distribution of this message.